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A personal story about Ganesh and my son, Sean.

Brass Ganesa Statue owned by SeanMy son, Sean, is disabled.  He was run over by a van at the age of thirteen, when he ran across a busy road near his school, after playing games with his brother when they were coming home one day,.

Sean spent eleven days in intensive care, fighting for his life, and ‘died ‘ thirteen times as his organs kept shutting down.  My family spent every moment by his bedside during that time, and were shocked to see the awful green liquid the nurses regularly pumped from his stomach – the color of spirulina.  Apparently, that’s what poison looks like in the body, and his body was being poisoned by the trauma of what happened to him.

Sean was in hospital for many months after he left intensive care (and spent years in rehabilitation ).  During that time, he emerged from a vegetative coma state, to slowly learn to manage his body and mind again.

He had to learn to move himself, and was at first like a new born baby with a floppy head and limbs that he had no control over.  He had to learn to not only eat, but also to swallow.

(He’d forgotten how to do that, and it was only then that we realized how much people learn as a baby.  Babies often have trouble swallowing their first solid foods, making their limbs work, and forming their first words).

He had to learn to talk again, and even today finds that hard, sometimes, because his tongue is always partially paralyzed – but we made him signboards so all he had to do was point at letters and words to get his message across.  He also got pretty good control over his thumb, and the ‘thumbs up‘ sign was often his response to people, as well as his smile.

When Sean smiled, his whole face lit up, along with his eyes.  It was amazing to see.  You’d think that what had happened to him would have set him back, or made him afraid of or angry at the world, but it didn’t  Instead, the energy that came from him was positive and glowing.  So, later on, we took to calling him our Ganesha.

Ganesha is a Vedic god who was the son of Shiva and Parvati.  He had an elephant’s head on a human body, but it’s how he got his head that aligned his story to Sean’s.

Ganesha’s dad, Shiva, was the god of yoga and meditation, as well as being the creator and destroyer of worlds.  Basically, he was/is among the highest hierarchy of the gods.

Shiva fell in love with Parvati  (also called Uma)  when he was already a very old man, so he was quite set in his ways by then.  Even though they had a great love match, Shiva still liked to get away on his own and would spend months, and even years, apart from his beloved as he went on solo meditation retreats in the mountains.

During those times, Parvati became quite lonely, so one day she formed a little baby out of clay and breathed life into it.  That baby was Ganesha.

Parvati and Ganesha had a great time together, and Ganesha did not meet his father until he was much older.   By then, he and his mother had some daily rituals, such as Parvati taking herself off to bed for an afternoon nap, and Ganesha guarding her door whilst she slept so no one would disturb her.

It was during one of these siestas that Shiva finally came home.   As usual, the first place he headed to was his wife’s boudoir for a bit of ‘meditation-breaking love-making ‘ – but when he got there, Ganesha was guarding the door.

Ganesha didn’t know who was being so aggressive about getting into the room and so he defended his mother’s door.  Shiva got angry that he wasn’t being allowed to see his own wife ( and he didn’t know Ganesha was his son ),  so a sword fight ensued, and during that fight Shiva cut off his son’s head with such force that it was flung into the cosmos and was never seen again.

Parvati was woken by all the hubbub, of course, and arrived just in time to see Shiva do the dastardly deed.   She burst into tears, telling him that he had just killed their son.

Now, Shiva is not only the ‘Destroyer‘ but also the ‘Creator‘, so he could make Ganesha live again.   What he couldn’t do was find his head to put it back on, so instead he went out into the world, declaring that he would bring back the head of the first baby born that he found.  That baby happened to be an elephant.

( Let’s not get into the awful feeling the mother elephant must have had to see her new baby decapitated… or why an omnipotent god like Shiva couldn’t find his son’s own head… this is a story, after all).

So Ganesha had an elephant’s head after that, and all the family reunited in love and happiness.

We thought this story fit with our son, Sean, because Sean was also disabled in a terrible accident, and Sean was also a beautiful kid who loved his mum, and who still smiles and dances and spreads delight in the world.  He once told me that it’s his mission to try to make everyone smile, so he bales even strangers up to smile at them, and if they smile back, he believes he has lightened their day.

I think that is a pretty good mission to have !

Like Ganesha, Sean is never going to not be visibly disabled, now – but he is still intelligent, perceptive, kind, charming, and extremely considerate and loving.

So, we have kept the god, Ganesha, close to us to remind us of our miracle, and our home is full of statues ( the picture at the top of this blog is of a statue only recently acquired by Sean ),  hangings, and tapestries of this lovely Vedic god, who is known today for his intelligence, for writing the Vedic scriptures, and for his ability to remove all obstacles, and to bring blessings and good fortune.

(I actually believe that ‘gods’ can manifest in human form, and in multiple humans at the same time, so who knows if Sean could perhaps actually be manifesting a piece of Ganesha?)

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how Ganesha has brought brightness to our lives, and how much his spirit lives in our son.

If you’d like to know more about Sean’s story, see some of his hospital photos, read the “God” poem he wrote about a year after his accident, and read the story “I Don’t Know” that he narrated to me as a six year old (I was the shadow writer), visit this link and click on the other links you find on the page as you explore.

Sean (nicknamed ‘Pumpkin’ as a child by me) did grow up to be a very fine man, and was once married long enough to have two beautiful daughters.  When I look at them today, and see the wonderfully happy relationship they have with their loving father, I am reminded that Ganesha also had two consorts, Riddhi (prosperity)  and Siddhi  (spiritual power).  Sean’s daughters also attract attention wherever they go, and I’m looking forward to seeing what their future holds…

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

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Personal photo by Lianne

The celtic New Year begins with the festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-wen’), also known as the ‘Feast of the Dead‘.   The ancient Celts, Druids, Picts, and Vikings,  believed that since in darkness we are born (from the womb) so is life renewed each year amid the season of darkness. (Samhain is celebrated at the half-way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice).

In Australia, where I live, Samhain is celebrated in April.  (It is celebrated very close to A.N.Z.A.C. day, which is interesting because that is also a time of remembrance and the honoring of our deceased defence force members).  This is because celtic paganism does not follow a calendar for spiritual events but instead follows the seasons.

In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to those in the north.  So Australian celtic pagans have their New Year, then, whereas northern hemisphere celtic pagans don’t have theirs until October 31.

(There are many non-pagan people in Australia who follow the American tradition of ‘trick or treat’ on this date, so we do answer the door to costumed children with bags to fill on that same October night, though Australians don’t celebrate with the gory exuberance Americans do).

The festival of Samhain (also known as Holy Eve, All Hallows Eve, and Halloween)  is celebrated in much the same way as the ‘Day of the Dead‘ is in Mexico.

For celtic pagans, it is a time when the portal between our physical world of Earth and the ‘otherworld (where spirit and the supernatural resides)  is open – sort of like having an ‘open day‘ for visitors.

During this time, humans can interact with deceased relatives and friends, place plates of food for them at their table and drink toasts in their honor (as if they are still alive).

Like the ‘Day of the Dead‘ celebrated by christians in Mexico, it is a lovely day for expressing love and affection for those who are no longer able to be with us on a daily basis.

Even before christianity overrode celtic paganism and plied superstitions of ghouls and demons being out and about on Halloween, ancient celtic pagans acknowledged that when the portal between worlds was open, darker and mischievous entities could come visiting.

Celtic pagans don’t believe in ghouls and demons the way christians do, though.

The word ‘demon’ is derived from a word describing demi-gods (partial or lower realm gods) and the word ‘devil’ describes similar by referring to devas or devis  (gods of the spiritual stream of Vedism, in Hindu culture).

There are no demons or devils in celtic pagan lore.  There are only people, from our physical realm, or from the ‘otherworld‘, behaving badly.

So such warnings like the jack-o-lanterns and sigils carved in doors were basically ‘stay away if you can’t behave yourself’ signs.  Any ghoul (or spirit ‘yobbo’) would be challenged if they wanted to cause mischief.

(The halloween pumpkin or jack-o-lantern, carved to become a candle holder to warn off unwelcome visitors at the front door, was once a carved turnip or swede in times of yore.  They didn’t have pumpkins back then).

In celtic paganism, there was an acknowledgement that, even in the supernatural realm, people with bad character traits existed who you had to be careful dealing with.

On the night of Halloween, those people could be partying in your vicinity, and their parties could be of the ‘smash ’em up’  kind.  (Mischief makers are not just human).

The ancient world was, however, an unsafe place, in general.  Anyone who took a fancy to what you had could forcibly take it from you, if you weren’t careful to make sure you could defend it.

Often, such defence could mean the loss of your life, or of your loved ones lives.  So it’s not surprising that when faced with supernatural entities who could cause trouble, people found a need for a different kind of protection.

It’s not surprising that they put out jack-o-lantern warnings, that they invented magical sigils, or asked their spiritual leaders for metaphysical methods to protect themselves, to thwart bad influences, and to ensure that their lives continued to thrive.

Nor is it surprising that they learned to pray for blessings and protection.

For ancient celtic pagans, the ‘otherworld‘ not only contained their deceased, but every type of supernatural entity, both good natured and bad.

It was only a small step to think that if the good natured entities lived in the same realm, they must have found a way to handle the bad natured entities.  Therefore, calling upon their help was no different to calling on the help of anyone who has more skill handling a particular situation.

I am a great believer in the supernatural.  My own experiences have come into direct contact with the supernatural and its entities throughout my life.

While I do believe in the basic ‘god essence of the cosmos‘ and its detached ‘in a dream‘ point of view, I also believe that what god ‘dreams‘ manifests as ‘reality‘ for us, and that what can be manifested does not just pertain to the physical level of existence we inhabit as human beings.

Therefore, I do believe in all manner of supernatural entities – ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, devas, and others.

For me, all manifestations are divine elements from the ‘mind of god,’  even supernatural ones.  All manifestations are basically avatars enabling the ‘divine elements of god’ to experience relationships, of one kind or another.

That’s the bottom line for me.  There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad‘ in that equation.

On the other hand, in the ‘pre-programmed laws and codes defining existence’, both in our world and in supernatural realms, all manifesting elements are given ‘in-built modes and mechanisms’ of expression.

If an ‘avatar of god‘ is in-built with certain modes of behavior and attitude, then they can express ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on their ‘purpose in the mind of god‘.

For me, what god thinks or dreams, manifests. (This is how I believe the coding is embedded).

As well, as a manifesting element of divine energy (albeit in human form), if I believe angels exist, then they exist.  Then, whatever form I wish to see them in is the way they will manifest to me, and whatever powers I give to them, they will have for me.

You might say that this is a very powerful ability indeed, but it has its drawbacks.  The drawbacks come from being incarnate in a human form, living a human life, and being embedded with the same ‘in-built modes and mechanisms of expression’ that other human beings are embedded with.

This means that my thoughts are not always as pure as they should be, that old conditioning from my earlier life on planet Earth is still hovering in the background, and that association with others and their less salubrious ideas still overshadows even my best intentions or alignments.

(That’s why ascetics do their best to overcome such weights, and to purify themselves of the past, so they can see the truth clearly).

In some ways, this ‘in-built mechanism‘ is a good thing. Imagine if a child thinks there are monsters under the bed.  With the ability of their divine self, in thinking there are monsters under the bed, they could actually manifest them!

The mechanism of ‘clouding divine abilities‘ enables us to live a human life with less confusion.

(Ancient spiritual streams believed that only those who can accept and manage both good and bad, light and dark, equally and without fear should be free in their ability to manifest their thoughts).

During the festival of Samhain, I hang buddhist prayer flags in my yard, stringing them between my upper balcony and a tree in my garden, as well as on my front porch where people enter my house.

(Prayer flags are traditionally hung during the buddhist New Year, but since my New Year is celtic oriented, I hang mine then).

I follow a self-styled form of celtic paganism, including rituals aligned to neo-druidic modes, but because my spirituality is extremely eclectic so is my expression of it.

It therefore doesn’t matter to me that these prayer flags are tibetan or buddhist.  (I am also buddhist in many of my spiritual modes).  What matters is the feeling that the flags manifest in me.  What matters is the concept of reaching out into the cosmos and asking for help where I am unable to help myself so effectively.  What matters is what the flags symbolize.

By using such symbology (or rituals) to foster correct modes and feelings, I am able to override the embedded conditioning long enough to seed better elements in my life.

Like many others, I also often pray to god and my angels (supernatural helpers and mentors), asking for help, advice, and guidance.

This is not a denial of the ‘basic truths of existence‘ I have defined in the ‘seeder‘ god and the ‘illusions of reality‘.  It is just an acknowledgement that I am incarnate in human form, beset by the conditions of ‘physical reality‘, and that sometimes in this ‘game of life‘ I don’t have everything I feel I need to ply it effectively.

When that happens, I call on those I think can help, in much the same way as others call on friends and relatives, mentors and patrons for opinions or assistance  – only, via prayers and rituals, I am calling on my ‘supernatural peers‘.

People often find themselves uplifted when gathering en masse in churches, temples, or at other spiritual events.  In those moments, the spiritual focus is intensified and miracles can happen.  This is because, with so many elements gathered together focusing on the same thing, ‘god’s mind’ becomes more focused on that same mode.

You can think of that with an image of neurons firing in a brain.  The most activity and thoughts occur where most of the neurons are firing.  So, if you can think of human beings as being ‘divine neurons in god’s brain‘,  then you can see how what those ‘neurons‘ are focusing on becomes a ‘center of activity in the mind of god‘.

Prayer is like that, too.  Through prayer we call on the help of supernatural entities, like angels and guides (or the over god, itself.  The over god or ‘oversoul’ is different to the ‘seeder’ god, but that’s another story).

With their assistance, more ‘divine neurons‘ are fired in the same area, and with that focus ‘miracles‘ can happen – e.g. things occur that don’t normally occur within the ‘coding‘ embedded in our physical realm.

Such beseechments don’t always work, just as asking for help from others in our human lives doesn’t always get us the help we need, or in the way we feel we need it.

Not getting the full help we need from others in our physical lives doesn’t stop us from capitalizing on it when it is available, though, even if we do have to ‘push on‘ and ‘do so much stuff by ourselves‘ until we get that relief and help.

Nor should any concept of ‘having to do it all by ourselves‘ stop us from reaching out to whatever help is available in the supernatural realm for us.

Just as our human friends and family don’t always know what needs we have, or won’t step in uninvited out of respect for our personal choices, so does the supernatural realm often behave.

We have to express a great desire for that help, either through the emission of misery and sense of loss, or through prayer.  (I know which I would prefer to invite with).

After all, being a level detached from our physical realm, supernatural entities know very well that what happens to us here only pertains to us here.

After death, we are with them – still alive, still thriving, but in a different layer of existence.  So of course, they will only respond to a direct request of some kind, or because their sympathy is aroused by our misery.

Samhain is not just about honoring the deceased.  It is also about honoring the supernatural, and all the ‘invisible‘ help available to us.

It is a way to give thanks for the help we have received in the past, and to give respect to those who answered our prayers.  In the ‘cosmic scheme of things‘, they didn’t have to.

As spiritual beings like them when we shed our ‘body coats‘,  our problems and assails are proven to be only temporary (in the cosmic scheme of things).  What brings them to our aid is their empathy and sympathy for our travails.

For me, they are my family and friends as much as any living being in the physical realm.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine